BOSTON — The power in David Price’s arm is hard to understand. Intuitively, it shouldn’t be there. He’s throwing harder now than last year, after a spring injury that sent him to renowned surgeons who told him he didn't need surgery.
But there he is, reaching 97 mph, seven starts into the season. That was a very important marker for him a year ago — seven starts. Maybe it will be that way again.
That’s the working logic for the designated hitter, isn’t it? Last year’s pattern is the groundwork for optimism when it comes to Hanley Ramirez.
Maybe Ramirez’s second-half outburst saw its starting point Thursday.
The home run he hit in a 6-3 win over the Twins was crushed to center field. It was anything but a cheapie, and something that felt like a statement. It’s hard to believe he could will himself to hit a home run because he’s received so much attention in the last couple days — that he went deep as a response — but the timing can’t be ignored either.
For Price, who went seven innings and threw 112 pitches on Friday, his seventh start a year ago was arguably the lowest point in his Red Sox career. It had to be in terms of where it left his statistics.
Price was in New York on May 7, 2016. He let up six runs to the Yankees in 4 2/3 innings. His ERA climbed to 6.75. He stood at his locker for 10 minutes the next day explaining what he thought the problem was. Unfortunately for him, his image with some Sox fans had already been tarnished because of the astronomical expectations.
From that point on, Price had a 3.39 ERA in 28 starts. He was underrated by most because his overall ERA was still shackled by the start of his season.
On Thursday, the lefty was hard on himself because his ERA is still high, at 4.61. Still, he's night and day compared to where he stood through start No. 7 in 2016.
“Not really,” Price said Thursday when asked if he felt good about his overall return. “I mean I've got a four, four and a half. Four or over that? That's no good.”
Nonetheless, seven innings and three runs is a lot better than what came through seven starts a year ago. And it only improved from there.
On Thursday, Price was using his changeup to great effect most of the time, striking out Miguel Sano with two on and no out in the fourth inning on the pitch. He later gave up two runs in the frame, but the inning could have been a lot worse.
Whether last year’s chronology should realistically be expected to repeat itself is debatable. A statistical study wouldn't back up that idea. But, if you do want to put stock into the progression of a season and the chance it repeats itself, Price and Ramirez might have found starting points inside the same game.